Movie Review: Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity
Credit: Paramount Pictures / Oren Peli

A year ago, I saw the original Paranormal Activity and enjoyed it. Natural acting boded well for a film that depended on its documentary style. While the idea was nothing new, its realism brought across the intended terror. The characters were also considerably well-written, with bits of unpretentious humour to boot.

Drawing parallels to a typical home, the story is enough to deter you from waking for a midnight trip to the bathroom. As a result, the tense suspense felt reasonably believable. It was no Exorcist, of course, but it did surpass the similar cinematography (or rather, the lack of it) in The Blair Witch Project (Sorry, Blair Witch fans).

Upon second watch, Paranormal Activity feels plainer. An angry Bear Jew is possibly much scarier than all 90 minutes of an empty and predictable plot. There is nothing particularly threatening about a trite demon who opens and closes doors for reasons undisclosed. No one really knows what it is doing during the night, with knocking noises unexplained yet again.

Just like every other box office success, a sequel is now in place. The 2 minute trailer shows how much they will be leeching on the success of the previous film, and how unnecessary it will be. Every second is filled with questions: What is going on in the writing room?

Paranormal Activity 2 seems like a poor excuse to use a tiny budget for minimal story-telling efforts, solely leveraging on our irrational fear of horror in real life and deceiving us into placing more hope in a lacklustre ghost tale.